- Why does my cat eat plastic?
- Cat health
- Stress and anxiety
- Lack of nutrients
- Signs that your cat has ingested plastic
- How do I stop my cat from eating plastic?
- Redirect their attention
- Stimulate them with games
- Teach them some new tricks
- How to prevent your cat from eating plastic
- Remove their access to plastic
- Train your cat
- Stimulate your cat
- Provide scratch posts
You’ve probably heard the rustling of a plastic bag when you’ve returned from the weekly shop, just to see your cat biting and shredding it with all its might. But why do cats eat plastic? We’ve got it all explained below – including when it’s a cause for concern. Read on to find out all you need to know.
Why does my cat eat plastic?
Your cat might eat plastic for a whole host of reasons, including stress, a lack of nutrients, a health issue, or even because they are just being inquisitive and exploring the world around them. Eating plastic is a form of pica, the behavioural urge to eat non-edible materials. This can be dangerous if chunks of plastic are ingested, so this behaviour should not be encouraged.
We have more details on the causes of cats eating plastic below. Take a look!
Some breeds are more prone to pica. The Siamese and Burmese cat breeds, whether purebred or crossbreed, may be more likely to develop pica. If they do indulge in this unusual behaviour, they may need preventative measures in place for their safety.
You should seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns about your cat’s health or behaviour.
Stress and anxiety
Stress or anxiety can cause cats to show changes in their behaviour and chewing plastic can be a sign that your cat is feeling anxious. It’s important to keep an eye on your feline if you see this to make sure they don’t bite off chunks of plastic as this can be dangerous for them.
Cats can show compulsive cat behaviour patterns, similar to OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) in humans. These OCD-type behaviours could include chewing on all manner of items, including plastic.
Lack of nutrients
Your cat might be telling you that they’re lacking some nutrients by biting plastic. If they feel like they’re missing out on something, they could resort to biting and chewing on other things. It’s important to review your cat’s diet and provide them with nutritious cat foods.
For any of these health concerns, whether it’s a disease, behavioural, or diet make sure to contact your vet as soon as possible.
Signs that your cat has ingested plastic
Understanding why your cat is eating plastic is one thing, but knowing when your cat has ingested something it should not have is another. Here are the signs to watch out for.
- Loss of appetite
- Drool and vomiting
- Behaviour changes – for example, reacting differently when you pick them up or defensive when you touch their tummy
- Abdominal pain
- Losing weight
If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to contact your vet without delay.
How do I stop my cat from eating plastic?
There are some things you can do to stop your cat from eating plastic. Remember to first take them to the vet to make sure that there is no medical cause for the behaviour. Once the vet has given the all-clear, here are some things that you can put in place at home to help adjust this behaviour.
Redirect their attention
Stimulate them with games
Using fun cat games that really get them thinking, will help get their attention away from the plastic. This could be a hunting game or a chasing game, which we know they love!
Teach them some new tricks
Keep them stimulated by teaching them a new trick! It could be as simple as teaching them to come when you call them, or more advanced like ‘roll over’. It will help to distract them from the plastic and give you both some bonding time.
How to prevent your cat from eating plastic
So, you know how to stop your cat from eating plastic, but how do you prevent your cat from eating plastic in the first place? If your cat has a mischievous or inquisitive nature, it is worth putting some measures in place.
Remove their access to plastic
This can include picking up plastic bags off the floor and removing any wires or plastic-coated things (that are not their toys). If your cat is in a room by themselves, make sure all plastic items are out of feline reach!
Train your cat
Training your cat to stop chewing plastic can include redirecting their attention whenever they start to chew it. Providing them with a safe chew toy is one option.
Provide scratch posts
Giving your cat spaces to scratch to their heart’s desire can be a distraction from chewing plastic. Scratching is an important territory-marking behaviour that helps cats communicate with each other, and it also helps keep their claws in tip-top condition.
Again, it’s important to visit your vet if you’re concerned about any aspect of your cat’s behaviour.
We hope this article on cats eating plastic was helpful. Next, check out more on demystifying cat behaviour with our article on why your cat brings you dead things.